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Ancelotti: “Nobody expected this start from Bellingham”

The Italian spoke after a 4-0 win over Osasuna

Real Madrid v Osasuna - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Following a successful Saturday afternoon with a 4-0 win over Osasuna, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press about his team’s win. The leading talking point, as can be expected, was the form of Jude Bellingham, who scored two goals to take his tally to 10 goals in as many games. On the midfielder, Ancelotti said, “it’s the same as always. He’s finding a lot of possibilities in attack, he’s very involved, I’ve told him that he doesn’t have a fixed position and that’s benefitting him. He’s attacking from deep and it’s been a surprising start to the season, nobody expected this level in terms of goals.”

Ancelotti on whether opponents can study Bellingham

One journalist asked Ancelotti whether that strong start was down to a surprise factor which makes it harder for rivals to know what to expect from Bellingham. Ancelotti responded: “I think it’s easier to study a position who plays in a fixed position. He plays out wide, deep, central, he makes it harder. He can be deep and his physical strength means that he can arrive quickly. Understanding his position and controlling him isn’t so easy.”

Ancelotti on whether Bellingham’s form is the best in the world

After being asked on Tuesday night in Naples whether Bellingham is the best player in the world, on Saturday he was quizzed as to whether he is in the best form of any player in the world. Ancelotti did not rule it out, saying: “He’s good, very good. These are things which don’t matter to us. We have the luck, all of us as Madridistas, of having signed a spectacular player who we can appreciate as fans. The best or not, I don’t mind, we’re just enjoying him.”

Ancelotti on what’s surprised him with Bellingham

With everyone continuing to be shocked by how quickly Bellingham is adapting to Real Madrid, Ancelotti was asked what had most surprised him about his start to life in Spain and responded: “This maturity that he has, he makes us forget that he’s 20 years old. He’s learned very quickly, and he’s very happy to be here and is enjoying his time, but always with his feet on the ground and very serious and professional.”

Ancelotti on what’s to come for Bellingham

Given his incredible start, Ancelotti also spoke about what will come in the future for Bellingham and about preparing for this run of goalscoring to come to an end. He said: “I think he is enjoying this moment with tranquility, he knows things are going very well but he’s aware like everyone that he isn’t a centre-forward who doesn’t score all the goals. He’s a playmaker, an interior, and his priority is not to score goals. When the time comes, which it will come, he will play with another attitude and contribute differently.”

Ancelotti on the clash with Osasuna

Reflecting on the tactical battle with Osasuna, Ancelotti was keen to point to the difference between the two halves as he said: “The game has been a game we’ve played well, we’ve controlled well. What made the difference was the first goal which allowed us to play with more control, without pressing too high in the other half. In the second half, with more space, we finished the game off.”

Ancelotti on the team’s form

As he elaborated on the way that his team are playing, Ancelotti also looked to add that his team’s form is not something that has emerged from the past few weeks alone. He analysed that, “Real Madrid are playing good football, yes. Since when? Real Madrid always play good football. It depends how you understand ‘play good football’. I’ve seen many teams play good football. Today we played very well with and without the ball. Tchouameni had an excellent game as a central defender for the first time. We were very compact and defended well. We’ve improved a lot since the defeat against Atlético and we’ve improved a lot in the defensive aspect, which makes criticism welcome. Thanks to you for the criticism after the Atlético game.”

Ancelotti on Rodrygo

Another Real Madrid game meant another Rodrygo appearance without ending his goal drought. Asked about it, Ancelotti defended the Brazilian by saying: “Rodrygo couldn’t score until the 65th minute. The minutes he’s played, he tried to score. He played because I wanted to add a fresh player in the attacking position. We always give him all the affection in the world.”

Ancelotti on penalty-takers

When the penalty was awarded, before Joselu missed, there was confusion as Rodrygo appeared to be a candidate to take the spot kick. Ancelotti was asked who the designated taker was and looked to explain what happened: “Every game, it changes. Because there isn’t always the same line-up. Today in today’s line-up the player who had to take it was Joselu. I don’t know if the players on the pitch spoke to give it to Rodrygo, today’s taker was Joselu.”

That led to some questioning whether Rodrygo himself actually wanted to take the penalty. Ancelotti suggested that he did, sharing a little more insight as to what happened on the field: “Did he want to take it? I told Rüdiger that Rodrygo could take it if he wanted, I don’t know what happened, the players spoke.”

Ancelotti on the start to the season

Discussing the start to the campaign, with this win putting Real Madrid back on top of LaLiga for the time-being, Ancelotti reflected: “We have to be very satisfied. We had problems, but we’re recovering players like Mendy today. The problems we’ve had, I think we’ve overcome them. We had six victories, then we lost one game where we played well, now we have to wait and hope that there are no injuries with the international team and return with three very complicated games.”

Ancelotti on Antonio Rüdiger’s yellow card

One of the negatives from Saturday’s game was Antonio Rüdiger picking up his fourth yellow card of the season, but Ancelotti was clear that he hadn’t spoken to the German about his discipline. He explained: “I haven’t spoken about this, I wouldn’t tell a player to think about suspensions. When he’s suspended, we’ll put somebody else in. We have many central defenders [laughs]. I laugh because Tchouameni doesn’t like playing central defence, which is a bit like Camavinga at left-back. One day we’ll have Tchouameni in central defence and Camavinga at left-back.”

Ancelotti on the international break

With the international break on the horizon, Ancelotti was questioned on whether he would be asking players to hold back on international duty. His response was clear, insisting, “no, I think it’s a personal evaluation for players. I’m not going to speak to any national team. I think the physical condition of each player going on international duty is up to him, he has to talk to his coach of the national team if he wants a rest. We don’t talk to anyone.”

Ancelotti on players getting on with each other

Journalists also pointed to the good relationships between the players, celebrating and dancing together, and Ancelotti praised the spirit of the team. He said: “I talk in general, when you’re in a good environment and can get the best out of yourself, it’s a clean environment. This is a clean environment, with intelligent, young, veteran people. I’m enjoying this environment.”

Ancelotti on Luka Modrić

Asked about the performance of midfield veteran Luka Modrić, Ancelotti spoke about his contribution beyond just Saturday’s win, saying: “Modrić is like always, his quality, his commitment, for what he’s done today and for what he’s done for this club.”

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